Australian enterprise encryption levels improve: Survey

Threat of data breaches sees 20 per cent year on year encryption growth, according to a report

Publicity around security threats has seen the rate of encryption by the Australian public and private sectors increase 20 per cent year on year since 2008, according to a new study commissioned by security vendor Thales.

The Australian Encryption Trends Study, conducted by research firm, the Ponemon Institute, surveyed 471 Australian IT and business managers during November 2011.

The study, published in February 2012, was part of a wider report involving 4140 business and IT managers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Brazil, as well as Australia.

Encryption spending, relative to the total IT security budget, increased from 7 per cent in 2008 to 9 per cent in 2011 in Australia.

According to the study, the main driver for encryption by Australian IT managers was the protection of an organisation’s brand or reputation in the event of data breaches.

“Australian respondents are much more likely to see brand or reputational issues as the main reason for deploying encryption (72 per cent) which is much higher in comparison to other countries surveyed,” said Thales Australia national security vice president, Peter Bull.

Comparing adoption rates for nine different uses of encryption within the enterprise, the most common uses focused on protecting stored data, in particular within databases followed by encryption of corporate backup files and for stored data on laptops.

Overall, 82 per cent of respondents from Australian organisations viewed data protection activities as either a very important or an important part of enterprise risk management.

In addition, Australia was ahead of other countries in the survey in terms of having an enterprise encryption strategy.

“Since the research began tracking trends in encryption deployment among Australian organisations, respondents claim that more companies are adopting an overall encryption strategy than are not -- a trend that is further advanced in Australia than other countries we surveyed,” Bull said.

“In Australia this trend is driven by IT staff, whereas elsewhere there is a clear shift towards business managers playing a much more active role.”

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